Disney replaces ABC studios chief and revamps TV team

Disney has replaced the president of its ABC Studios unit and changed the senior team at 20th Century Television as part of the latest set of moves following its acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets earlier this year.

ABC Studios president Patrick Moran and the division’s exec VP of business operations Howard Davine are both stepping down, with former 20th Century TV execs Jonnie Davis and Josh Sussman taking the respective roles.

Carolyn Cassidy, who had been exec VP of current series at 20th Century Fox TV since 2015, has been promoted to replace Davis and become president of creative affairs, working alongside president of business operations Howard Kurtzman.

Davis, Cassidy and Kurtzman will report to Disney Television Studios president Craig Hunegs. Bert Salke remains president of Fox 21 Television Studios, reporting into Hunegs.

Sussman reports into Davis, who has worked on shows including hit drama This Is Us and comedy Modern Family having joined 20th Century Fox TV in 2008, rising to become president of creative affairs most recently. He was also behind the studio’s shift into animation with forthcoming shows such as Central Park.

Former NBC exec Cassidy joined 20th Century Fox TV as VP of comedy in 2009 and previously oversaw live-action show including Empire, working with companies including ABC, FX, Hulu, Netflix and Disney.

Following the reshuffle, it also emerged ABC Studios’ head of comedy Amy Hartwick had chosen to leave the organisation, having been in the post since 2011. Her replacement has not yet been named. US trade Deadline first reported her exit.

The changes are the latest to affect Disney and Fox execs at Disney Television Studios, which is the umbrella for ABC Studios and recently acquired duo 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios. The combined operation is behind 69 shows for 16 networks and platforms.

Hunegs said in a memo to staff: “This exceptional group is uniquely qualified to continue building our position as the strongest studios in the industry and the very best home for talent.”

Last year, prior to the Disney takeover of Fox assets being completedDana Walden was named chairman of Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment, while Peter Rice was appointed chairman at Walt Disney Television and co-chair of Disney Media Networks.

Elsewhere Mark Kaner, president of 20th Century Fox Television Distribution, also departed along with Twentieth Television boss Greg Meidel.

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